August 16, 2009
I am sitting in the hallway of our home looking out a window facing an absolutely breath taking mountain range. Its hot and humid, many dogs are barking, and a someone is driving around in a truck shouting political slogans with a mega phone. I can’t understand what he is saying but I wonder if it has to do with the political situation Honduras is in. I thought I heard Obama but it is very possible that this was my imagination. My apartment is small but cozy. I’m certainly not living in any rural undeveloped area, but it definitely is not the United States either. I’m learning all the ins and outs of how to make normal life work here. Like, turning on the water heater before I get in the shower, using a garbage for toilet paper instead of flushing it in a system that cant handle it, and making sure my curtains are closed during the day to keep out whatever heat I can from the sun. Life seems so much simpler already and I am enjoying that.
When I arrived at the airport Emily and I had no trouble getting in through customs. We were waiting for our luggage when someone came and put their arms around us. It was Jim the volunteer coordinator from OLR. It was so great to see a friendly face before we had even started worrying about how we were going to find our ride. He had gotten special permission to meet us in the baggage claim area rather than in the receiving area. When we got outside with all our bags the school principal Evelyn, and another volunteer named Brenda, met us to take us to OLR’s bus. We loaded up our things and off we went. I was so busy getting to know everyone in the bus that I don’t remember much about the drive. There are no tall buildings in San Pedro Sula, every once in a while you see a house like ours with two floors but otherwise everything is low. The houses feel somewhat like they do in the southern united states. They are designed for warm temperatures year round. Our hallway is basically open, there is some metal on the windows but no glass or screens. The sounds of the neighborhood are very near J. Many people have little patio/garage space outside of their homes. We have a little one that I am looking forward to sitting and relaxing while speaking to the neighbors who pass by.
Emily and Brenda seem like people I will easily get a long with. We all seem to have very different personalities but we are connecting well. Last night we all watched You’ve Got Mail and had my favorite Argentine beer, Quilmes. I have only had it a couple times at expensive Argentine restaraunts so it was great to buy it from the store. We had chips, salsa, and m & ms. I think we all needed the comfort of something similar to home and a chance to just relax. The community area of the apartment building is nice but very small. I think I will hang out in my room and the hallway more often then down in the common area. It seems sort of stuffy and dark.
So after we got in the bus they took us to the home for the girls. It is a beautiful square brick buidling with a courtyard in the middle. They have a few work rooms where they do painting and woodworking, a kitchen with four long tables, a livingroom, and then all of their bedrooms. The girls sleep in bunks and the rooms seem to be separated by age some how. When we got to the home we had lunch (lunch is the biggest meal of the day here, and dinner is a little smaller, more like supper) with the girls. We had a lunch of rice, some ground beef with a great zing flavor to it, and some red beans. I mixed all three of these together and it was so tasty. They also served plantains. It looks as if I’ll have some sort of plantain for every meal here… lol. I like them now, but it seems like quickly I could get sick of them. I’m going to try to not get sick of them lol. They cook them sometimes like patatoes with just butter and salt but they also make “maduros” and then they are covered in a brown sugar creamy heavenliness J.
I quickly started to talk to the girls. It is a little hard to break into their regular routine, but I feel like it will go quickly with me because I can speak Spanish with them. Sometimes the girls try to lie about little things to tease me. Now that I have caught on to that I can tease them right back. Some of the girls were having me guess how old they were so I guessed things like three, twenty-five, and ninety-nine. It made them all laugh and hopefully helped them connect with me, these girls were all between six and eight. I have enjoyed so much using Spanish to communicate with the girls. Last night I had a long conversation with a girl named Waldy about school. She is 13 and doesn’t want to go to school on Monday. She is in a public school and their summer vacation is very different from Holy Family school or any of the private schools. So she is in school now and was complaining about going back on Monday. I told her that its only Saturday night, she should enjoy Sunday before she starts worrying about going back to school. Saturday night I sat out in the courtyard, orignally by myself, and quickly the whole table was filled with girls. I sang songs that I learned from one of my Spanish classes and really hoped maybe they knew the same songs. They quickly joined in with me and I was so happy. When we had to leave several of the girls came over to give me a hug and I instantly felt like I belonged.
On a more serious note, three of the five volunteers that were at training in Miami, are not here and will not be coming. Emily and I are the only volunteers that actually made it here. Kyndall took a job a couple months before so we knew she wasn’t coming but when we got here we learned that the retired couple had decided not to come because they say they fel t it was too dangerous. I have not experienced anything dangerous but it sounds like other things didn’t work out for them and the political situation was a good excuse to not make it. Its too bad but there are other volunteers who signed up later who will be joining us at some point. So there are only three of us in the house right now, but I guess more are coming later.